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Boxing News: Breaking Ground in Saudi Arabia » July 4, 2023 – Fight News

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Saudi Arabia
By Mauricio Sulaimán
Son of José Sulaimán & WBC President
I have visited Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to attend a boxing show which was quite extraordinary. I am extremely impressed by the work put together by Skill Challenge Promotions, as they have put together a memorable event. The Middle East Professional Boxing Commission has grown to be a standalone entity fully equipped to supervise world level shows and the people in Saudi Arabia love boxing.
The boxing card was exceptional. For the first time in history, an Arab woman fought in her homeland, there were three amateur fights backing up the Olympic boxing program, six preliminary fights which included local talent, followed by a sensational and dramatic WBC world title fight.
Former two-division world champion Badou “The Ripper” Jack defeated former champion from the Congo Ilunga Makabu by TKO in Round 12, to win the World Boxing Council cruiserweight title. A Cinderella story on its own, Badou Jack is now a three-division world champion (super middle, light heavy, and cruiserweight). Makabu, a true warrior, put a sensational and courageous fight, landing heavy shots in the middle rounds, making the fight dramatic as he seemed to be getting back strong to finish the fight. Badou had to dig deep to hurt Makabu, and finished with a flurry which prompted referee Mark Lyson to stop the fight.
Open scoring was used and both corners received the official scores at the end of round 4 and 8. This is a sensational rule which allows the corners to adjust during the fight, knowing the real scores of what the officials are scoring. Scores at the end of 4 were 38-37 twice and 39-36 as Makabu was knocked down in round 4. At the end of 8, the fight got close – 76-75 twice, 75-76 split in favor of Badou Jack. Jack came back strong to win the ninth, tenth and 11th dropping Makabu again.
Instant Replay was also available, even though there was no need to use such important rule.
In the main event, Englishman Tommy “TNT” Fury, younger brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, defeated American boxer and YouTube Star Jake Paul by split decision. The 2-year conflict was resolved in 8 entertaining rounds and at the end of the bell, both came to the center of the ring and showed exemplary sportsmanship and fair play.
Jake Paul has lost, and in my opinion, now the pressure is off and he will be able to start his career as a boxer. He took defeat like a man of honor and is now without any doubt a boxer in his own. Tommy Fury came to fight, had a plan and executed very well. Referee Hector Afu was sensational in what turned out to be a difficult match to officiate due to the many holdings and unorthodox actions during the fight.
Jake has been in contact with the World Boxing Council for a long time, beginning with winning a WBC amateur belt several years ago in England.
He has had several professional fights against athletes from other sports personalities, and his last fight was a dominant presentation against Anderson Silva, the former UFC champion who was able to defeat Julio César Chávez Jr.
The criticism of him from the traditional media and boxing fans has been incessant, and this was a great opportunity to validate his status as a boxer by facing Tommy Fury, who by winning will be ranked on the WBC lists.
Saudi Arabia ventured into boxing by already organizing two very important cards: Anthony Joshua’s rematch against Andy Ruiz (2019) and Oleksandr Usyk’s rematch against Joshua himself (2022), two great fights for the boxing heavyweight championship.
How did boxing come to be of interest to Saudi Arabia?
More than 30 years ago, a kid from the royal family, Prince Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, would go to bed early only to wake up at 4 a.m. so he could watch his hero on television: Mike Tyson.
Mike Tyson motivated him to follow our sport and The Prince became a great fan, with the dream of one day making the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the capital of the boxing world.
During the press conference, he announced the creation of the promotion company Skill Challenge Entertainment, and his plan to bring fights of global interest to Saudi Arabia on a consistent basis.
A great team has been formed under the leadership of Amer Abdallah with Fadi, Ravi and other leaders.
It has been an unforgettable experience. Prince Khalid opened his home to receive those of us who came to witness this event with a dinner in his garden in which a regional show was put on, with music and traditional dances, where a party was held with Mike Tyson, Tyson Fury, Devin Haney, Shawn Porter, Derek Chisora, Michael Buffer and some more of us who were honored to be present. There were dances, sword rituals with drums and Arabic chants. Children running around the garden, all of them princes of the royal family and a dinner of delicious Arabic food…and desserts!
The weigh-in was held in the gardens of a palace, with a spectacular event, but with the sun beating down on all of us.
All the boxers passed the weigh-in without problems and the boxing show was held in a stadium built exclusively for this great event.
The presence of Cristiano Ronaldo and a large number of personalities was amazing. The great former world champion Deontay Wilder arrived and the atmosphere was impressive. To have Mike Tyson, Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Derek Chisora in the same room was a rare occasion which made it even more special.
Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Saud has been instrumental in bringing boxing to this country.
Did you know…?
In the history of boxing, there have been multiple occasions where personalities and athletes from other sports got into the ring.
The great Muhammad Ali fought for 15 rounds against the fighter Antonio Inoki in Japan, who never got up from the canvas kicking Ali, and it resulted in a boring draw.
José Canseco, that Major League Baseball home run hitter, tried boxing and was beaten; Legendary Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Ed “Too Tall” Jones fought six professional fights and retired undefeated. Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke went to fight several times in Japan and sold out many arenas.
It is currently a phenomenon of which we must be very careful, vigilant and attentive, so that an accident does not occur on the ring.
Today’s anecdote
My dad’s dream was to see boxing in the Middle East.
On one occasion he traveled to Lebanon, and after a meeting with the President of that country, Emile Lahoud, an agreement was reached for the possibility of presenting Mike Tyson defending his WBC world championship. Unfortunately, the war began and that dream could not come to fruition.
He was very happy to see Prince Naseem Hamed establishing himself as a great world champion, and he also had a good relation with Amir Khan when he was starting his career, as young Amir promised to one day be a world champion. I am certain that my dear Father is smiling to see the Middle East having boxing and I believe that within 2-3 years the first champion born local will be crowned.
I welcome your feedback at [email protected].
Being an Arab living in Mexico, I’m sure Mauricio was thrilled having a boxing show in Saudi Arabia.
I had no idea he was Arab. I always thought he was Mexican.
I guess women weren’t allowed to be there, but hey if the sowdi money rolls in it’s all good right
Verbatim, the article stated “The boxing card was exceptional. For the first time in history, an Arab woman fought in her homeland,”
Ladyboxer, did you even bother to read the article, or did you decide to come on here to speak your preconceived bias?
Saudi Arabia should’ve had some beheading executions as the co main event. Would have been more entertaining than the main event.
“Jake has been in contact with the World Boxing Council for a long time, beginning with winning a WBC amateur belt several years ago in England.”
– Couldn’t help but notice how Mr. Sillyman was standing next to Paul when the judges scores were read.
– And how he consoled him after the decision loss.
– Lots of partiality on display.
Today, 3/1, from another site regarding the WBC:
“Conor Benn said the World Boxing Council (WBC) did him a “disservice” when it suggested his failed drugs tests were caused by an excessive consumption of eggs after the governing body cleared him of intentional doping last week.”
and
“In my defence to the WBC and the 270-page report provided to them, at no point did I indicate that I failed any VADA tests because of contaminated eggs,” Benn said. “I feel like the WBC statement did a disservice to my defence.”
Good job, WBC….
I see Saudi Arabia, becoming the second capital of boxing behind Vegas. Saudi Arabia is paying big bucks and you can’t deny that.

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Neighbors Challenge Lake Club as Pickleball Fight Heats Up; P&Z … – Good Morning Wilton

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On Monday, Nov. 27, the Lake Club returned to the Planning and Zoning Commission nearly seven months after a public hearing brought attention to the increasingly tense relationship between the Club and its residential neighbors — many of whom are themselves active members.
Located at 175 Thayer Pond Rd., the Lake Club operates with a special permit that allows private membership recreation clubs to be located within a residential neighborhood, provided that they do not impact the surrounding area more than a typical residential development would. Earlier this year, the Club applied to convert one of its existing tennis courts into four dedicated pickleball courts, which will include changing the surface material to the hard-court paving typical for the sport.
Pickleball has grown enormously in popularity in recent years and is now the fastest growing sport in America. In June, The New York Times published a story on rising noise concerns about the sport, due to the particularly high-pitched “popping” sound it produces.

Back in May, the Commission asked for further sound analysis and challenged the Club about why it had failed to better communicate with neighbors ahead of submitting the application. Returning to the Commission with a resubmitted application, the Lake Club offered two new concessions in light of neighbor concerns, presented by attorney Casey Healy:

  • 12-ft fencing with acoustical panels will be installed on two of the four sides of the proposed courts.
  • Pickleball play would be restricted to “daylight hours” or no longer than 8:00 am to 8:30 pm, depending on the season. Attorney Kathleen Royle, also representing the Lake Club, confirmed that the courts do not have lights.  

Healy reiterated that the estimated sound impact of pickleball on neighboring properties complies Wilton’s noise regulations. However, this finding and the concessions seemed to do little to convince either neighbors or the Commissioners that the Lake Club was making a serious attempt to respond to sound concerns.
Commissioner Chris Pagliaro called the offer ‘cold,’ and said, “After all this time, we basically got a plan that says we’ll put a fence and acoustical panels on two of the walls. It doesn’t feel like the Club is trying to be particularly neighborly, it feels like you’re just trying to check a box.”
A group of nine neighbors, many of whom testified back in May, returned to speak out against the project once again, this time bringing an attorney and an independent sound analysis to back up their case.  
The informal coalition made several claims objecting to the application and in some cases, asserting that regardless of pickleball, the Lake Club is already out of compliance with its existing permit:

  • Attorney Wilson Carroll, representing resident Ed Rowley, said that “pickleball is fundamentally incompatible with residential neighborhoods,” and argued that the Lake Club’s activity levels are already in excess of permitted residential uses.
  • Ed Rowley himself presented a powerpoint on the unique sound qualities of pickleball and widespread community objection to the sport, which is excerpted below.
  • Greg Maroney explained that he had indeed been bothered by the sound of the two pickleball tournaments held over the summer, in response to claims by Healy that the Club never received noise complaints in the past. “Am I just supposed to complain every time something annoys me?” Maroney asked. “To who — the police? That’s not a neighborhood. That’s not what I want to do.”
  • Several neighbors testified that they had never been contacted by the Lake Club about the pickleball court proposal.
  • In addition to the topic of pickleball, neighbors alleged an ongoing issue of noise creep in recent years, citing early morning leaf-blowing and late-night parties featuring DJs and outdoor movie screenings in particular.

The Commission agreed to continue the hearing and add it to the agenda for the Dec. 11 meeting. Healy said that the sound consultant representing the Lake Club would be available to answers questions from the Commission and neighbors at that time.

Remaining Master Plan Regulations (and More) Approved

Elsewhere that evening, the new zoning overlays for Danbury Rd. near Wilton Center passed unanimously following a public hearing in which only one member of the public requested to speak. Kelly Morron asked for clarification on whether St. Mathew’s Cemetery falls within the East overlay zone, which it does.
The new overlays will allow development up to three stories on the east side of Danbury Rd. in the area south of Wilton Center, and up to four stories on the west. More detail on the areas affected can be found in GMW’s past coverage. With the addition of these two new overlays, there are now 11 sets of zoning rules operating in the 0.68 square mile area designated as Greater Wilton Center.
Chair Rick Tomasetti, who also chaired the subcommittee that spearheaded the master plan and resulting zoning regulation changes, recused himself from the vote and did not participate in the Nov. 27 meeting. Vice Chair Melissa-Jean Rotini chaired the meeting in his absence.
The Commission also voted to approve three items that appeared in the Communications/Discussion section of the agenda, a move that seemed unusual to Rotini, who asked Town Planner Michael Wrinn for clarification that a vote could be held “from this place in the agenda.” He confirmed that it could, and so the Commission went on to unanimously approve the following:

  • A zoning text amendment and special permit allowing ASML employees working at the 77 Danbury Rd. facility to use overflow parking at the company’s 20 Westport Rd. property; and
  • A special permit approving a three-season patio at Cactus Rose restaurant in Wilton Center.

Looking Ahead

New zoning regulations on childcare facilities and electric vehicle charging stations are also in the works, in light of recent state requirements.
The next meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 11. This will also be the first meeting of the new Commission, which will now include Commissioner-elect Anthony Cenatiempo. He replaces Commissioner Matthew Murphy, who is stepping down. The Commissioners thanked Murphy for his service to the town before concluding the meeting.
Disclosure: GOOD Morning Wilton’s editor is a member of the Lake Club.

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Fight, shooting at Rocky Mount motorcycle club leaves 1 man dead – WTVD-TV

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ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WTVD) — A man was shot and killed during an altercation at a motorcycle club, Rocky Mount Police said Monday.
Officers responded just after 9:30 p.m. on Sunday to All Round Huzlerz at 309 Tarboro St. Shots were fired during the fight and 55-year-old Donald Joseph of Rocky Mount was struck. He died at the scene from his injuries.
Police said Joseph was shot by "a known individual" but did not release a name nor mention anyone in custody.
No other injuries were reported.
The Rocky Mount Police Department Criminal Investigations Division continues to investigate. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call the Rocky Mount Police Department at (252) 972-1411, call Crimestoppers at (252) 977-1111 for cash rewards, or Text-A-Tip (text RMPOL and your message to 274637).
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Tiger women ready for ACC Challenge – Rivals.com – Missouri

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Mizzou women’s basketball is halfway through its non-conference schedule and sits at 5-2 before its matchup with Virginia. The Tigers will take on the Cavaliers in Charlottesville Thursday afternoon at 4:00 in the ACC/SEC Challenge. Virginia enters the matchup with a 4-2 record and has losses to #25 Oklahoma and #7 LSU.
Mizzou is coming off a loss in the Daytona Beach Classic to Kent State and looks to gain its first road win of the season. The Tigers’ first road game resulted in a loss earlier this season to SLU.
“Disappointed in our trip to Florida, it just didn’t feel like our offense,” head coach Robin Pingeton said. “We’ve got four players averaging double figures, but our offense didn’t travel with us. You’ve got to be really strong on the defensive end, especially on the road. I thought our transition defense has definitely made some strides, really pleased where that is, I like where that’s trending”.

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Heading into this game Mizzou is averaging 80.6 points per game and is being led by Hayley Frank with 17.9 points per game. To this point in the season Mizzou is shooting 47% as a team from the field and 39% from behind the arc. Defensively the Tigers are allowing just 68.1 points per game.
Pingeton spoke highly of the Cavaliers ahead of the matchup on Thursday: “Virginia is really talented. They’ve got good size, good athleticism, and a good balance in their inside-out game”.
Virginia currently averages 17 offensive rebounds a game and is limiting opponents to scoring 61.5 points per game. Pingeton believes the way the Tigers have to fight this is with more grit on the defensive end and by taking these matchups personally.
“I think we take a lot of pride in our offense, and we’ve got to get to that point where defensively we’re really taking it personal,” she said. “We have to be finding ways to be gritty in our rotations and putting out fires for each other and it comes down to not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight the dog. We’ve got to have a mind shift, our mentality is just got to be a little bit grittier on that defensive end”.
Mizzou must get better every week as the season goes on, Pingeton believes. The Tigers expect this game to be a battle, but they will not do anything different than what they are capable of according to Pingeton.
“It’s just continuing to do what we do and improve in the areas that we need to improve on. It’s these days in practice that lead up to Virginia, that we’ve created better habits and awareness and a sense of urgency. In regards to our rotations, be more disruptive. To our attention to detail, getting a body and making sure we’re getting somebody boxed out. Low man always wins on the boards. It’s some of those kinds of things that we have to continue to be mindful of in practice”.
Thursday’s game will be televised by the ACC Network.
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